There and Here Again: A Hoosier’s Tale, by Rebekah Shirar

Maybe that is what I should have titled my blog. Let me know what you think.

Goodness, I haven’t posted since last year and I’m pretty sure I could write a book equal to the size of The Hobbit with everything that has happened between now and then, but I won’t. Blogs are not meant to be lengthy and I have too many errands to run on my day off.

So now, let me reflect on the high points.

Ah, Okay.

So, I could start by talking about what it’s like to work in fashion retail during the holidays, and even though there would be some comical moments, the just thinking about it for me, would put a sour taste in my mouth and potentially a tear in my eye, so I’m going to skip that. I would so much rather write about how I got my love back, right before Christmas, over Football and beer (wine in my case), how beautiful my mom’s house looked all decorated and cozy; how I helped my brother propose to his girlfriend among close friends and family; and how I spent the new year with three of my best friends from college.

Now, it seems we are all back in the swing of things…the decorations are down, it’s work work work, and some play.

I’ve been helping Benji (my boyfriend, I’ve decided that’s what I’ll call him on here) with some projects on his new house, which I love! Tearing down walls and sanding floors is hard work, but feels so good. He’s so good at teaching me things and I love learning. It would probably be better for him if my girly arms didn’t give out so quickly, but I think he appreciates the help/company and he enjoys teaching. So, we are having fun with that and I am having fun watching him with this house…like a child playing with his new toy.

The house sits on a quiet street just south of downtown Indy and at night in the upstairs bedroom, if you look out, you can see the skyline all lit up between the trees. I think it might just be my favorite. As I was standing there the other evening, I realized that I’m starting to fall in love with this city. It’s taken about two years, but it’s really grown on me. Don’t get me wrong, this country girl will always love her woods and fields, but Indy has so much to offer. And that brings me to my new years resolutions of sorts.

*To find 2 new gems in the city a month. There are so many new restaurants/shops that are popping up around here, fun local businesses that I want to support and experience. I’ll be blogging about those as well.

*To get out of the city more. To go to state parks, visit friends, and get out of the country….

WHICH I AM FINALLY DOING next month! Yes, my flight is booked and I’m headed to NICARAGUA for my lovely friend and her destination wedding. I cannot begin to express my excitement over this first adventure and how great it will be to experience it with a handful of my close friends. It’s my first trip out of the states and what a good reason to go, right? I think it will change me. I hope to catch the “Traveler’s Fever” and go on many trips after. I’ve always wanted to see the world and it’s starting. This Hoosier is stepping out.

Adventure is my word for the year. I’m reading books like Wild and watching movies by Peter Jackson and feeling inspired again. Inspired to be brave, try new things, get out of my comfort zone, love in new ways, and take risks.

So, how’s that for reflection?

🙂

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Love yourself this Christmas: a guide to treating yourself right.

What a gem. We should all take her advise. Thanks @littlegreybox !

Little Grey Box

I looked at my calendar yesterday and realised just how close we are to the end of the year. Where did that come from? How did that happen so fast? Christmas again, already?! This time last year I was going through the usual end of year wind down, you know, feeling like you’re holding on for dear life just trying to make it to the holidays. You’re attending Christmas parties and feel like you’ve got a million things going on and very little time to do them all.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little bit burnt out and tired. Initially, part of me felt guilty for thinking I could be burnt out and tired, I told myself I didn’t deserve to feel tired because I love what I do. The ‘old’ me would have allowed that little put down to slip on by, but the ‘new’ me…

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Macho Man

So I haven’t been a member at the gym for very long, but I think I have an idea of what is proper gym etiquette and what isn’t.

Now, I’m going to tell you a little story about my encounter with Macho Man today.

I hopped on the elliptical and started my typical routine. About three minutes in, Macho Man comes out of nowhere and gets on the one right next to me. Uhh.

First of all: these machines are entirely too close to one another for comfort and whoever made the decision  to space them with so little space a apart should rethink it.

Second,  there were three other machines available further down, but he chose the one at my side. Great. This to me, is an example of improper gym etiquette.

My heart rate increases, and it’s not due to the workout.

I size him up immediately, as much as I can without turning my head or making eye contact. He looked something like this:

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For those of you who don’t follow WWE, this is John Cena. The only reason I know who this guy is may in fact be due to a brief and unfortunate time in my life where I dated a guy who was really into wrestling. Now, that being said, I cannot deny that I find John Cena attractive, ya know, in that totally macho, douchebagish, kind of way.

Meanwhile John Cena look-alike is also sizing me up. And he’s not trying to be discreet about it, either. Another example of improper etiquette — staring.

I keep going, trying to ignore him and focus on the rock music video in front of me, but it’s hard because I forgot my earphones so it’s just a bunch of silent guys with their mouths open, and weird images of statues with burning heads.

I note that Macho Cena is barely moving. If he were on the ground, he’d be in a slow motion walk or something. I’m not sure what that was about. He continues to glance my way, I continue to run in place for about eight minutes.

Then suddenly, he’s getting off. Done already? He’s only been here eight minutes. And it occurs to me. Oh. He doesn’t use these machines, except maybe to hit on women. He was hoping…

I hear him say, “Have a great workout.”

Shit. I have to acknowledge him now. 

I look at him quickly, but long enough to notice his super white teeth and altogether nice smile…

Improper etiquette is speaking to someone after the fact, having not said hello or having any other conversation prior, when clearly I am ignoring you and don’t want to be bothered. I mean, come on man.

“Yeah,” I say, smile back, and that’s that.

He’s gone, and I continued my workout in solitude. Phew. I successfully sidestepped that one.

Not only have I now witnessed an example of bad gym etiquette, but I have learned something about myself. I am not ready to start talking to other men. I am not ready to even acknowledge that other men are out there. I would much rather stare straight ahead no matter what is in front of me than potentially have a conversation with a potentially nice guy, even if he is John Cena’s doppelganger.

Even now as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if maybe he wasn’t being rude at all and I was just using that as my excuse for not speaking with him. He was intimidating. The fact that we were at the gym makes it even more intimidating. He was obviously interested. I’m just not there yet. I don’t know if or when I will ever be at the place where I can think about other guys. I’ve considered it a few times…I’ve been asked on a few dates, but I’m just. not. interested.

Yet.

Legos

Control. Spontaneity. Adventure. Life plans. Fate.

To date or not to date?

Hmm.

So I had some free time the other morning before work and decided I would watch a cheesy Christmas movie via one of the best inventions man has come up with yet, Netflix. I Flix on the Net quite regularly.

The main character is a young professional woman in the city. She has a good life, but she’s not quite happy with the way some events have turned out…not everything was going according to her life plan. She had broken up with her boyfriend of two years (sound familiar?) was living alone, and tired of it. She decides she is going to win her ex back by Christmas, and they will  get on with her plan. Basically, she’s a control freak who is afraid of being alone.

Hmm.

So of course I find myself relating to this chick, and I realize just. how. contradicting. and. sometimes. controlling. I can be.

Hmm. The movie continues on with this girl not getting what she wants in the end, but figuring out that her life is actually great, she’s not alone, and she gets what she needs. I got a dose of “hey, life isn’t about plans, it’s about living!” and “hey, live in this moment and be thankful!” and another big spoonful of “hey, it’s not all about you!” Of course, those aha moments aren’t always easy to swallow, but as Mary Poppins believed, a spoonful of (in this case, cheesy holiday chick-flick) sugar helps the medicine go gown.

I took a personality test once which told me that I was a triple sanguine flagmatic. Right. So the sanguine part means that I don’t like to be alone, I am spontaneous, emotional, easy-going, optimistic, and adventurous. Triple that, and I could be all over the place and really crazy out of control (I know some people like this, bless their hearts) BUT, the flagmatic part, tones all of that down so that I have a very logical/realistic side, that looks ahead to the future and likes to make plans.

Being the eldest of three also means, I can be bossy. I admit it. I’m bossy. And opinionated. And I think I’m always right. But that’s not really where I’m going with this…

What this really all means, is that I am constantly in a place of contradicting myself. I have contradicting wants/desires. I act on impulse and immediately regret it after I have thought it through. I want to live in the moment, but plan the rest of my life out in month increments. I want to see the world, but save money and be close to relatives. I want to live in the excitement of the city, but often dream of a house in the country. I want to be married, but also want to sleep in my own bed alone with sheets that stay tucked in at the foot of it. That last one makes me giggle.

So, basically I’m kind of always a hot mess over here. Except, I’m really good at hiding it…at least I think. I’ve gotten better at taking a minute to decide which things I want more, and just going with that, knowing full well that one part of me is going to just have to give up. And that’s Okay.

The crazy thing is that usually, I don’t even get what I want anyway. And that makes me giggle even more.

All of that being said, here is what I think. In the end, we can make all of the plans in the world, but most of them aren’t going to pan out exactly the way we thought or wanted them to. We don’t have control of everything…actually, we have control of very little of what happens to us. Call it fate, call it God, call it life, karma…whatever you want. But, it’s true. The only thing we have REAL control over is how we react.

This is your Selah moment.

I don’t believe plans are bad. Plans are good to have a sort of outline, but we need to understand that plans will and do change. We have to adjust and continue on and choose happiness. And if there is an important person in our lives, we have to make space for their plans. When you love someone, you share plans, put the puzzle pieces together to make a conjoined, new and creative plan that will always be changing. Plans change because we change. Actually, isn’t that kind of exciting?! It’s like Legos!

Incredible-LEGO-Art-by-Nathan-Sawaya-Yellow

Peter Pan and Laura Ingalls

Somewhere at my Mom and Dad’s house there is an old VHS sitting in a stack of other home videos, covered in dust, of one of my birthday parties. Not sure, but I’m just turning one of the ages between 2 and 5. All of my family is gathered around the dining room table watching me open presents. Birthdays are a big deal when you’re little. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandparents all come to celebrate with your parents, watch you make a mess of cake, and open gifts. Everyone laughs and gives you kisses on the cheek. At this particular birthday my Meemaw had given me a card and put  $5 in it. Mom helped me open it and gave me the card. When I saw the green bill my eyes opened wide, my tiny jaw dropped, and I exclaimed with a gasp, “Fifty dollars!?”

If only, while growing up, we could see life the way I saw that five dollar bill. To me, getting five dollars felt like fifty. I was overwhelmed at the gift, having no experience with money, and nothing else to compare it to. Of course, it was probably spent on Barbies, or something but that’s not the point.

What I’m NOT saying is that we should pretend we have more money than we actually do, no, that’s just living in a fantasy and could get you into a lot of trouble. Live within your means, people. What I’m saying is…

This past week was all about Thankfulness. We took a day to realize what we have is actually more. Most of us spent the day with families, eating lots of food, watching football, and then drove home uncomfortably full. But isn’t Thanksgiving more than that? Didn’t you feel a small sense of wonder and gratefulness at what you’ve been given? Wasn’t there a prayer in your heart of Thanksgiving to God for your loved ones, and all that delicious stuffing? Did you not think of others who may have so much less, who were alone and hungry? Didn’t your 5 dollar bill feel like 50?

I certainly hope so.

Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up. I get it, believe me. But, I think he missed an important element. Growing up doesn’t mean losing your childlike wonder, enthusiasm,  simplicity, or optimistic  outlook on life….it means, not spending your five dollars on toys. It means realizing the value of your five dollars, and how it could quite easily turn into fifty. It means realizing that others would kill for your five dollars.

Do you get what I’m saying?

What does your five dollars look like? What do you have to be grateful for? What are you going to do with it? Are you going to sit on it and let it go to waste? I hope not. Are you going to invest it in a life that you can look back on at the end and say, “I really lived.” Are you going to share it?

This past month, I’ve done a lot of growing up. I’m finding that balance between the child in me, and the woman. We never stop growing up. That’s a good thing. Keep on moving on. Take leaps, make big decisions, face your fears, use what you have wisely, learn from your mistakes, have faith….but don’t forget to grab the hand of the little one inside you to remind you…

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King’s Island

Here I am, almost at 3 weeks single, and I’m still alive. I’m still breathing, working, eating (some), sleeping, and doin ma thang. It hasn’t been easy, but life goes on. My emotions seem to be on an extended trip to King’s Island, taking full advantage of every roller coaster ride. Their favorite coaster is “Flight of Fear” (Yes, I’m aware that King’s Island has new ownership and all the names of the rides have changed, however; I will continue to call them by their original names). All it takes is a smell, a song, a memory, or a text from him, and I go from 0 to 54mph down that dark tunnel, twisting, turning, flipping, lurching. But, then it’s over, and relief is in sight.

I have friends and family to be thankful for. The people who sit next to me, behind me, in front of me on the ride. They listen, they hug, they call to see how I’m doing, and I know they pray. I know, because I feel it.

Earlier this week, when I was talking to my roommate and feeling especially low, I had an epiphany. You can have all of your friends and family around you, supporting you, but all it takes is that One Person to make you feel completely alone.

Think about it.

It’s true, isn’t it?

When you open up your heart to someone, I mean really open up, and they become your best friend/lover/confidant, and then you lose them…there is a big, empty hole.

So of course the only thing to do is fill it, right? But this is where it gets tricky, because there are soooo many things we can choose to try and fill that void with: food, alcohol, escaping into movies/books, exercising, work, social outings, shopping…you name it. None of these things are bad in themselves, and they do help in a way…but they are only temporary, only a distraction.

I bought a cute little square to hang on my wall today that reads “All you need is love.” I believe that to be true. The Bible says “Perfect love casts out all fear,” and “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ”

There are different kinds of love.

There is the love between friends, which means the world to me. I’m not sure how I could do life without it. All it takes is a text with a funny video of Mer’s music students, or a FaceTime with Linds, or a Facebook message from Meg to lift me up. Roommates with a care package full of cute goodies to make you smile, a long-time friend to hold you when you cry…all of these are acts of love. All of these make me less empty.

There is the love of parents, which I’m so blessed to have. Calls from Dad telling me he loves me, just checking in. Texts and talks with Mom that only mothers and daughters can understand.

And of course, the love between a man and woman. I still have it, it hasn’t gone anywhere (much to my frustration) but it is no longer tangible, no longer acted out, rarely spoken. There is nothing there to hold it, or keep it, so it’s just kind of, there. Hanging out. Chillin. It no longer fills me. I don’t know what to do with it now.

I can’t help but wonder, if this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Are we, as humans, meant for our love to be misplaced? Are relationships meant to end before one passes from this life? My soul cries no! It feels so unnatural. If you’ve loved and lost, can’t you relate? When a relationship ends, and you didn’t want it to, in a way, it is like a death in the family.

I know, this all seems so dramatic, but let’s face it. Life and relationships are dramatic.

The video above is from an excellent movie. If you haven’t seen it, do. It had been years since I watched it, and when this scene came it was as if B and I had reenacted it. Literally, this conversation was had, in almost the exact same way. I was Jennifer Anniston’s character and he was Ben Affleck’s.

You never think you will end up in a place like that.

While your love for another can sometimes blind you to the truth, and leave you hurting; the love of others can warm you, open your eyes, and heal you.

I’m still learning about the kind of love the Bible talks about. I’m still trying to emulate it. It isn’t easy, but something tells me it’s worth it.

General Tso

Mondays…this one wasn’t like the usual. A lack of sleep had me waking up late, and throwing my hair up in a bun. That’s what I do when I’m on day 3 hair. Yes, I typically wash my hair every 3 days. Why? Because I’m too lazy to wash it every day. It’s thick and long and washing it is such a chore. Anyways…

I was surprisingly busy with customers this morning. Really…who likes to shop on a Monday before 12? Not I.

So that happened.

And I drank a lot of coffee because I was cold.

And then,something  absolutely crazy happened.

I had a craving for Chinese food.

If you know me, you will be just as amazed as I was.

I was standing there, talking to an associate about foods, and it hit me.

So on my way home I drove several miles out of the way to stop at a dumpy restaurant called Panda something or other, and ordered waaay too much noodles, rice, and General Tso. When the really nice cashier showed me the combination plate it was all over. I was so excited to get home and dip my fork into all that greasy, saucy, goodness, and it smelled tantalizing in the car.

I threw on my sweats, started Netflix, and dug in. Oh, it tasted amazing at first. The oriental flavors made my mouth water…

and then about halfway through the first carton, I remembered why I never eat Chinese food.

30 minutes later, I’ve  barely made a dent in all those fried carbs, I’m light headed, and my hands are shaky. After about 10 bites it all started to lose its flavor, and after about 13 I could hardly stand the smell anymore. Now it’s all sitting in my fridge…and the thought of eating it tomorrow repulses me.

Sigh…

“Why?” I ask myself. I don’t like Chinese and I never have. Where did that craving come from? I can’t tell you. Maybe my body was confused…maybe it thought it wanted Chinese when really it wanted Greek. Or, maybe it thought that Lo Mein is similar to peas…I hated them as a kid, but now enjoy them. Maybe it’s due to the monthly cycle, or my recent breakup, or the time change, or maybe it’s maybelline. I don’t know.

Now I’m going to sit here and think about what I’ve done.

Thanks for nothing, General Tso.  At least the cashier was really nice.

Iris

“I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn’t know you had inside you. And it doesn’t matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends… you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he’ll see the light and show up at your door. And after all that, however long all that may be, you’ll go somewhere new. And you’ll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.”

– Iris, The Holiday

This has been one of my favorite quotes since I first watched The Holiday back in 2008. At that time, I found myself relating to the character Iris in such a way that it was almost healing. I would cry, and the beautiful music would soothe me. I became almost obsessive with the franchise for about 2 months — buying the soundtrack and blasting it in my car, making mom and all my friends watch it with me, and writing the quotes in my journal.

For the past two years, I had hoped that Iris would remain a part of my past, but, once again, I find her resonating with me in a profound way. I woke up with that miserable loneliness hanging over me like a hazy, grey cloud and new immediately that I would relish escaping into that movie world, yet again.

I went down into the basement to search through my unpacked boxes, and somehow it was misplaced in the move. No worries, I stopped at Target a midst my errands (as is often the case) and there it was, nestled in the $5 movie section. The film that has helped me through the grieving process of 3 broken relationships has been reduced to the price of a Big Mac Meal. Well, that’s OK, it’s easier on my wallet, but for all of you brokenhearted, newly single women out there…this movie is worth $50 for what it will do to your heart.

So, take the advise of Iris: join a gym, drink chardonnay with your girlfriends, do something that makes your feel beautiful, but most of all…give it time. Some of us have been here before, we fought the fight for our love, and we lost. Time will heal, I promise. Just breathe those roses in deep.

– Bek